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  1. #1
    Prophet Guest

    NFL quarterback ratings don't add up

    NFL quarterback ratings don't add up
    Sept. 22, 2006, 1:25AM
    2006 Houston Chronicle

    The math isn't necessarily Bernoullian.

    In fact, it is a simple formula, with no more complicated mathematical operations than addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

    Yet if the goal were to crinkle the brow of a quarterback or coach, just politely ask one to provide the passer efficiency rating formula.

    "Hell no," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said when asked if he knew how the number is ascertained.

    It is the hot dog of football statistics, but not only do few know what goes into calculating it, not many understand or like the finished product.

    In the NFL — after you subtract 30 from a player's completion percentage and multiply that by 0.05, subtract three yards from his yards-per-attempt and multiply that by 0.25, multiply his touchdown percentage by 0.2, multiply his interception percentage by 0.25 and subtract that from 2.375, add the four results, divide that result by six and multiply it by 100 — a perfect passer rating is 158.3.

    (Yes, you and Theo Huxtable, you should have paid more attention in Mrs. Westlake's class.)

    "It's the dumbest scale known to mankind," said Aaron Schatz, the editor-in-chief of, a Wweb site dedicated to in-depth analysis of NFL statistics. "Nobody understands what it means. Why couldn't they have made it from zero to 100? Would that have been so hard?

    "You don't want to look at a number and have to do the math; you want somebody else to do the math and you look at the number."

    Matters not where the number comes from, Kubiak likes knowing that through two games this season his quarterback has the second-highest rating in the NFL. Statistically, David Carr could not be off to a much better start, having thrown four touchdowns and no interceptions, with an astounding completion percentage of 75.5. (He entered the season with a career average of 57.8 percent.)

    He has an efficiency rating of 123.7, just behind the Chicago Bears' Rex Grossman (128.7).

    "I've never been around a quarterback with that type of number, period," said Kubiak, whose career passer rating was 77.3 in eight seasons as a quarterback with the Denver Broncos. "It's a heck of a number."

    Expect that number to work its way downward through the season. The NFL's season record for pass efficiency is 121.1, set by Peyton Manning in 2004. Manning has more perfect games in the regular season (three) than any quarterback since the league introduced the formula in 1973. Steve Young, who spent the majority of his career with the San Francisco 49ers, holds the highest career passer rating (96.8), and the Arizona Cardinals' Kurt Warner has the best mark among active players (94.2).

    Interestingly, Kubiak was the offensive coordinator in San Francisco when Young set the then-NFL record for passing efficiency at 112.8 on his way to the MVP award in 1994. That mark remains No. 2 all time.

    Oddly, if you do not complete a pass, as long as you do not throw an interception, your passer rating will be 39.6, which would put you ahead of the early-season performance of Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger and Denver's Jake Plummer, the starters in last season's AFC Championship Game.

    Carr and Kubiak are quick to point out that the most important statistic is wins compared to losses, a category in which Carr is tied for last in the league this season at 0-2. The New England Patriots' Tom Brady has not played up to his usual standard this season (77.6 rating), but his squad is 2-0.

    "I'm not worried about stats; the only thing I'm worried about is winning," Carr said. "I'd trade that (rating) any day, just to get a win."

    Brady, the winningest quarterback in the Super Bowl era (.750), has a career passer efficiency rating of 88.2, which is not much higher than Carr's 75.3. But Carr has led the Texans to just 16 wins in his four-plus seasons, and the Texans' 18 victories during that time are the fewest in the league.

    The NCAA formula for passer rating is simpler than that of the NFL. Created in 1979, the formula is antiquated in that is was designed so that the average quarterback (average statistics based on the previous 14 years of NCAA statistics) would post a rating of 100.

    With the improvement in the passing game, a passer rating of 100 is not very good anymore. Josh Padrick of Florida International, who has thrown four interceptions and just one touchdown, has a rating of 99.9, putting him 89th among Division I-A signal-callers.

    Oklahoma State's Bobby Reid, whose Cowboys play at Houston on Saturday, is fifth in the country with a rating of 173.7. His rating using the NFL formula would be 111.4.

    UH's Kevin Kolb ranks 16th in the nation with a passer rating of 160.1, barely ahead of Texas' Colt McCoy (159.5) despite having a higher completion percentage, better interception ratio and higher yards-per-attempt average than the Longhorns' starter. McCoy has the better touchdown percentage with six TDs in only 59 attempts to Kolb's eight in 107 throws.

    Using the NFL formula, McCoy (114.7) would rate higher than Kolb (114.3) and Reid.

    "Honestly I don't know how they figure it," Kolb said Thursday before practice. "I really don't pay attention to those things anyway."

    As convoluted as the statistical maze may be, Schatz says the final tally is a better way of determining a quarterback's play than total yards, which is often used as a measuring stick.

    "Obviously, it has deficiencies," Schatz said. "It doesn't include running yards in any way, it excludes quarterback responsibility for sacks, and it doesn't do any adjustment for opponent strength. But as far as the standard, the efficiency statistic tends to correlate with winning more than anything else, except for net yards per pass.

    "You just wish it was more user friendly."

    Chronicle writer Michael Murphy contributed to this story.

    [email protected]

  2. #2
    Vikes_King's Avatar
    Vikes_King is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: NFL quarterback ratings don't add up

    hm lol, interesting read, i used to wonder myself how exactly they got 158.3 to be the perfect passer rating =P always seems so damn random to me

    "We’ll win our own Super Bowl, with our own players. Real Vikings. Something Brett Favre can never be."

    - Dan Calabrese

  3. #3
    Freya's Avatar
    Freya is offline Team Alumni
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    Dec 1969

    Re: NFL quarterback ratings don't add up

    No! Say it isn't so!!!!

    And for pity sake, don't get Bernoulli involved.

    Personally, I don't think there is intelligent life on other planets. Why should other planets be any different from this one?

  4. #4
    BloodyHorns82's Avatar
    BloodyHorns82 is offline Jersey Retired Feed The Frog Champion
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    Jun 2006

    Re: NFL quarterback ratings don't add up

    nice post!
    Interesting read..thank you

    It pretty much backed up my beliefs that the forumla was too complicated to calculate during a game without a pen/paper/calculator/intelligence.

  5. #5
    scottishvike's Avatar
    scottishvike is offline Hall of Famer
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    Re: NFL quarterback ratings don't add up

    I always wondered why they didn't just score it out of 100.

    The other thing the rating does not account for is when you throw the perfect pass and the WR drops it

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